The accomplishments of former Westbank First Nation Chief Robert Louie have been recognized by the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business.
The association recently honoured Louie as its 2022 lifetime achievement recipient.
The award recognizes a First Nations, Inuit, or Métis person whose business leadership has made a substantive contribution to the economic and social well-being of Indigenous people.
A former lawyer, Louie spent 24 years as chief of Westbank First Nation, while helping to guide it through independence and self-governance.
Over the years, he also served as chairman, director or board member of more than 30 corporate entities, six of which he continues to sit on today.
Louie is presently owner of Indigenous World Winery and Distillery, Kelowna West Manufacturing Home Park, and other business ventures.
“Robert Louie exemplifies the entrepreneurial and leadership characteristics at the heart of this award,” said CCAB president and CEO, Tabatha Bull.
“His entrepreneurial spirit, work leading the Westbank First Nation as Chief, and advocacy for legislative change to effect economic growth through Indigenous land, have earned him a reputation as a role model, mentor, and a deserving lifetime achievement recipient.”
Over his final years as chief, Louie helped finalize WFN self-governance in 2005. Since then, economic growth within the reserve has grown from 110 businesses to more than 500 with close to $700 million in revenue.
“I am honoured, grateful and appreciative to receive the Canadian Council for Aboriginal Business Lifetime Achievement Award,” said Louie.
“To serve, work with and support Indigenous people in economic and business ventures makes me so proud to be Indigenous. I salute all Indigenous peoples in business.”